Why Even Good Billionaires Are Bad


Is there such thing as a good billionaire? After all they’ve given us so much, like cancer research and the unicorn Frappuccino, which is probably cancerous so that one’s a wash. But do those good deeds make up for their incredible amount of wealth? I’m Francesca Fiorentini, and in this episode of Newsbroke, we’re looking at myths about so-called “benevolent billionaires.” It’s a hard time to be a billionaire. As if maintenance costs on your Gulfstream weren’t high enough, the failures of capitalism mean your disproportionately large slice of the pie has you looking like a snack. Look at Bezos. He’s such a snack. We should eat him. No really. We should eat the rich There are more billionaires now than there have ever been in history. And together they’re worth 8.7 trillion dollars. Some people are so enamored with the idea of extreme wealth, they talk about billionaires like they’re talking about the Backstreet Boys. Who’s your favorite billionaire in America? Bernie hesitated like he was asked, “What’s your favorite cancer?” Prostate. But the tide of popular opinion is turning against billionaires, as extreme inequality is putting a spotlight on extreme hoarding. Some see such exorbitant wealth as a flaw in our economic system and think that we should abolish billionaires. And that kind of criticism has got some ultra rich feeling ultra fragile. Do you agree that billionaires have too much power in American public life? The—the moniker “billionaire” now has become the—the catchphrase. I would rephrase that, and I would say that people of means have been able to— Whoa whoa whoa whoa “people of means?” Do the rich things that “billionaire” is their N-word? Only we’re allowed to call each other that. And always with a soft “Ah.” Billion-Ah. Whether or not billionaires should exist, they do. And some are giving back. So let’s look at those not-immoral billionaires—the ones who claim to be good. We’re told they’re self-made, that many believe in paying higher taxes, and that they all give to charity. Claims that we’re going to dive into. Before we do, let me say there are plenty of unrepentant a[censored]hole billionaires completely unconcerned with appearing benevolent. The Koch brother… …who made their money by ravaging the earth and then helping deny climate change, Hedge fund manager, Robert Mercer, who helped fund Trump, Brexit and Breitbart “News.” And billionaire, Rupert Murdoch, who’s the head honcho of Fox News—the top dog, the big cheese, the Grand Wizard if you will. Unlike our child heir of a president, the good billionaires are… well, actual billionaires—and are often referred to as being self-made. Bill Gates: self-made man. Warren Buffett: self-made man. Named the youngest self-made billionaire by Forbes magazine. We have a number of self-made—They didn’t get it from family. They did it on their own. You’re a… mil—billionaire or whatever you are. A millionaire or whatever. But it’s like, you’re self-made. Millionaire or billionaire or whatever? Look at how salty Bloomberg is about that lack of distinction. Release the hounds, or whatever. These are smart guys with good ideas. They probably didn’t kill anybody to get to the top, and—unlike certain so-called self billionaires— Zuckerberg’s butt is real, if you must know. But take Bill Gates, the billionaire-est of the billionaires, who’s often commended for being one of the good ones. He didn’t exactly play by the rules. During his time at Microsoft the company was found guilty of violating antitrust laws and putting an oppressive thumb on the scale of competition in order to secure its status as a monopoly. Over the years the company has paid hundreds of millions in settlements and narrowly avoided being broken up. Never mind Microsoft’s murder and coverup of Clippy the virtual assistant. Clippy knew too much, and he started talking. Didn’t he? Didn’t he?! Or take Tom Steyer, another one-percenter, presidential candidate. He’s a former hedge fund manager who says he cares deeply about the climate. The climate proposal that I put out about two weeks ago. It is the most aggressive climate proposal by far in this campaign. Yet part of why he’s a billionaire is thanks to his firm bankrolling projects like coal mines in countries like China and Indonesia. Apparently, since getting an investment, those mines are now producing 70 million more tons of coal, and as late as 2014 Steyer was still a passive investor, despite his claims of divestment. On top of that, Steyer wastes millions on nationwide impeachment ads when he lives in Nancy Pelosi’s district. Just leave a severed horse head in her bed with a note that says “Impeach” like a normal person. As for Mark Zuckerberg’s self-made status, we’ve all seen The Social Network. We know he stole the idea for Facebook, just like he steals our data every day to rake in even more money. You didn’t make you, Mark. My mom clicking on face cream ads did… …and she regrets it. Zuckerberg calling himself “self-made” is like Frankenstein’s monster saying, “Actually, me self-made monster.” [Laughter] Economist and former Bernie Sanders advisor, Stephanie Kelton, busted the myth of self-made billionaires when she wrote No one makes a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars. You take it from your workers. You plunder it from the environment. You strip it using patent protections. And she’s right. Calling someone a “self-made billionaire” is kind of like calling someone a self-made Everest-climber. [Heavy breathing] I am totally self-made. There were no ropes, no harnesses, no three Sherpas who carried my stuff to the top. Well, two now… Good billionaires claim they want higher taxes, and yet when a hint of a 70% tax rate was floated by AOC on people with income of ten million dollars or more, some got nervous. I—I think you can make the tax system, uh, take a much higher portion from people with great wealth. Seventy percent? Seventy percent? [Cheers] Well, that [Cheers continue] The applause-o-meter has spoken, Bill. These great fortunes were not made through ordinary income, so you probably have to look to the capital gains rate and the estate tax. Bit of a deflection, but on one level Gates is right. Capital gains are basically where a corporation can deduct nearly every expense they have: salaries, investments, even debt. An estate tax law allows a parent to give a child up to eleven million dollars tax-free. Add to that dividends, which are payments to shareholders that have a fixed tax no matter how large the payout. And Billionaires are basically able to play the financial system by using their money to make even more. That’s why, for example, Bernie Sanders’s 2016 plan wanted to double taxes on capital gains and dividends, and raise investment income tax to ten percent. So how about it, Bill? I think that’s a great debate. I think if you go so far as to say that there’s a total upper limit that that might have more negatives than positives. but, you know, I—I—I may have a distorted view of this. Probably a little distorted, Bill—Where the f[censored]ck is Clippy?! Maybe we shouldn’t ask the billionaires what their tax rate should be. That’d be like asking Panda Express to give itself its own health score. Four bamboo shoots and a raisin? Those aren’t even numbers. But Gates’s warning about a negative impact almost sounds like a threat. We know that the wealthy have offshore accounts and many accountants to find and exploit every tax loophole Microsoft itself, which Gates still holds shares of, has avoided paying billions in taxes around the world by juggling profits between different countries. So if Gates is so woke on taxes, is he in favor of closing those corporate loopholes that he’s used? Or will he find even more ways to evade? What about Warren Buffett, who was actually Bernie’s answer to that very dumb question earlier. I think Warren Buffett has said some decent things. When you have a billionaire who talks about raising taxes on the rich, I think he deserves some credit. Sure. Buffett has famously argued for more taxes on the wealthy, saying that he and his quote “mega rich friends” can afford it, which is such a big humblebrag. Me, Elon, Oprah and the rest of the illuminaa—rich people are happy to pay more in taxes before we blast off for Elysium. Buh bye. …Buh bye. But, like Gates, when pressed, Buffett warns against doing too much to disrupt a system that has worked out really well …for him. The inequality gap has widened and will continue to widen unless something is done about it, but I also believe that the most important single thing is to have more golden eggs to distribute around. Uh, so I don’t want to do anything to the—to the goose that lays the golden eggs, and we’ve had the goose that lays more and more golden eggs over the years. Sure, and for every golden egg, there are 10,000 balls of duck sh[censored]t. Ooh look! Mine’s got a sunflower seed. What about charity? Good billionaires give to charity, right? And yet charity is often what shields the ultra-wealthy from agreeing to any structural change. Listen to Michael Dell of Dell computers balk at the idea of more taxes. There are growing calls to address these inequalities—particularly the wage inequality with more taxes. Michael Dell, do you support this? [Laughter] Wow. [Laughter] [Laughter] I haven’t laughed this hard since the help slipped on a Fabergé egg, and fell into the pool and drowned. [Laughter] My wife and I set up a foundation, and I feel much more comfortable with our ability as a private foundation to allocate those funds than I do giving them to the government. Wow. Dell’s basically saying that he can do more through private philanthropy than any Democratically elected government could ever do through taxes. And he’s not alone. Many billionaires boast about their generous donations. But the gesture is as generous as it is self-serving. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates started The Giving Pledge: a billionaire’s promised to give away most of their wealth over their lifetime. Over 170 billionaires have signed it, including Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. But the pledge doesn’t specify how or in what timeframe to give away your wealth. So you could give it to public health programs like Bill & Melinda, or to a fancy new wing at your alma mater, or use it to buy portraits of yourself. Either way, press is good, and no one really follows up. Plus, billionaires have gotten really good at using charity to dodge taxes. They donate to something called “donor advised funds,” which allow them tax breaks and more control on how the money’s invested, and they donate in stocks—not cash—for yet even more tax breaks. The highly publicized Chan Zuckerberg initiative, which was promoted as the Facebook founder giving away 99% of his wealth, was actually, as one reporter put it, an LLC where he moved his wealth from one pocket to another. But forget tax incentives. Donations help the wealthy maintain power. Think about it: You not only get to put your name hospitals, schools, museums and fancy foundations of your choosing, but you potentially also have influence over what those institutions do. Also, if you think about it, celebrating billionaires who plaster their names all over buildings is kind of how we got into this mess to begin with. According to one author critical of philanthropic giving, donating can actually just reinforce a broken economic system. A lot of the elite helpfulness in our time is part of how we maintain the hoarding. We do giving in ways that protect the opportunity to keep taking. And we seek to change the world in ways carefully chosen to not change our world. Charitable donations from benevolent billionaires often end up being stopgap measures or pet projects for issues that need real solutions. Part of the Chan Zuckerberg initiative was handing out grants to the tune of three million dollars to aid the housing crisis in Silicon Valley—a crisis Facebook absolutely exacerbated. It’s a bit like an arsonist holding a bake sale for his local fire department. I just wanted to give back. Billionaire Richard Branson once pledged 3 billion dollars to fight climate change that he never delivered on, and instead, turned around and expanded his North American fleet of airliners, and then he took Obama kitesurfing while we were in the Death Grips of the first month of the Trump administration. So f[censored]ck you again. Billionaires aren’t inherently terrible people, and many have done good things. But at a time of massive inequality, shouldn’t they give up a whole lot more? when Buffett, Bezos and Gates own more wealth than the bottom half of the country, you have to ask yourself: How moral is it to have that much at all? Even if you had Romneys of children and build yourself multiple theme parks, you could still end world hunger by giving it all up and living in a condo. Maybe it’s time to stop lauding the good will of billionaires, and start seeing them as the reason we’ve got all this duck sh[censored]t to clean up. Thanks again for watching Newsbroke. I’m Francesca Fiorentini Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @Franifio. Follow AJ+ on YouTube and Newsbroke on Facebook Watch, and all the things, all the buttons—Remember to share this video with people who really need to hear it. And let me know in the comments whether you think that being a billionaire is immoral. Now, of course no one is talking about actually eating Warren Buffett’s liver, but like, if you were offered it, would you accept? Thanks again, and we’ll see you next week.




Comments
  1. The comment section is filled with commies who hate wealth and success, coming from an aspiring Billionaire who currently works minimum wage at a factory.

  2. people think there is just one pie and billionaire takes a huge piece of it. Reality is the pie is getting bigger. People should be more concerned whether their economic status is improving not the relative economic inequality. It's human nature to want things that you don't have, good thing is in a free market you can have it if you work for it.

  3. Can good Billionaires be bad? Definitely. Though I've never been able to find anything bad that Warren Buffet did, or Elon Musk, etc. But probably all other bGood Billionaires Bad (evil). Orangeman Bad. We should take all the Billionaires money from them, fire all the millions of workers in jobs they created, and house and feed every undocumented immigrant that wants to come to America. If we deported all the white invaders we could make this work. Because Billionaires aren't giving enough in philanthropic gifts, and they aren't paying enough taxes either. I'm for outright confiscation (like the anti-Second Amendment people) of all personal assets of these wealthy fatcats. We should take their wealth and divide it among us. Then there would be equality and social justice.

  4. Rich people are NOT greedy. In order to be rich, you must contribute to society by providing something that people want to buy. It is the poor that are greedy. Many poor people insist that: 1:The rich should pay all the taxes. 2:The government should take care of them. 3:They deserve a higher salary for doing the bare minimum at work/ 4:Wealth should be “redistributed” (meaning THEY get money that someone else earned).

  5. No. Being a billionaire isn't immoral and wealth inequality is unavoidable unless you want to invite something that looks a lot like communism. People would be better off if they focused on getting out of poverty first, then building wealth, practicing frugality and rejecting envy and vanity. Take it from someone who comes from a modest family in a poor African country that tried the communist route (and obviously failed). However, if you prefer to listen to an elitist, leftist, activist, "journalist", that's your choice.

  6. I'm all for people being billionaires. They shouldn't be able to buy power political power though. That is the major flaw with not the rich, but our government. Ban lobby money

  7. Who are you to judge first of all. Second what is the difference between your idea and alt right? You think that you know everything and ultimately try to force it probably. I'm gonna unsubscribe from aj+. They are making the rational dialogue of having a better share fare system to a dangerous field…

  8. Glad Al-Jazeera is back to be counted on as a more fact-oriented news org. to compliment the BBC and PBS. Even though this one is funny. Frani's presentation is great as well as hilarious

  9. Regarding charity vs taxes : considering presidents are morons (trump) elected by morons (trumpsters) and generally crooked, I'd have to agree when a billionaire feels he can allocate funds better than the government. But then someone needs to pay the firemen and the police and nurses and the teachers… It's not a simple question.

  10. In order to become a billionaire you have to screw people over. People like to say Bill Gates is doing great things but he has more wealth than ever. He could be doing a lot more to help others.

  11. Mark 12:41-44 New International Version (NIV)

    The Widow’s Offering

    41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

    43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

  12. I’m not against the rich and wealthy, I just wish our own government stop taxing the working class so much. Working 2 jobs, it would be good to not have to pay 30 percent of what I earned and those bastards have a nerve to eliminate a lot of deductions we relied on

  13. Why do people always think that only capitalists benefit off people’s work? Also, what are higher taxes gonna do anyway? More money to bureaucrats who only care about getting more funds the next fiscal year?

  14. Francesca, I'm middle class from a third world country, but your whining speaks more about your personality than about the rich. Get to work and make a life for yourself.

  15. Wealth is not a zero sum game. Wealth is created, not just taken from person A by person B. But that is exactly what the left wants to do.

  16. For rich to be accepted..their life is not to be easy is the responsibility..they get no servitude..no maids butlers chauffers..babysitters..lawncare..poolcare..ect..and be accepted as casual..no uniform image suits ties..NO SERVANTS!!!

  17. Good job Francesca.
    There are less billionaires in Europe, but there is less poverty in Europe. Capitalism without social conscience is inhumane.

  18. America is too much imbued with Puritan fairy tales of hard work (even when other people do the work for you) and riches being a "divine reward" to truly change its attitude towards billionaires.

  19. The reason why we have money in the first place is because humans are stupid, selfish animals who constantly compete with each other and need a way of rationing resources. Therefore, we have invented money OR we would have probably wiped ourselves out by now. You only need to see how people behave at black Friday sales; smacking the shit out of each other to get their hands on a reduced play station.

    Interestingly, psychopaths make up one percent of the USA and are to be found mostly working as CEOs. 🤔 Characteristics of a psychopath are selfishness and profound lack of empathy and emotion.

    Also the richest one percent of the world's population own more than half the world's wealth, according to media reports. Hmm😏

  20. Right, because billionaires are bad because they give the middle and lower class MILLIONS of jobs, donate to charity, come up with inventions like the iPhone or the computer, definitely became a billionaire because they “stole” money, make modern life more reliable, don’t care about climate change that is so disastrous the global climate rised 1.8 degree Celsius for 200 years, can make more money, give consumers more services. And because they have a lot of money, it most be stolen.

  21. Billionaires are at the point where their money makes money. They don't have to do any type of physical labor to make 200 million in an hour. So yes, that is the definition of a system that works only for the 1% and no one else..

  22. Bernie wanted to say trump! Also if there is more billionaires and millionaires?!?! Then doesn’t that mean wealth has become more distributed?!?! Also Bernie is a millionaire 🙂 —-get you shit right lady

  23. Her lack of understanding about economics is breathtakingly ignorant. WOW. Her sad attempt at sarcasm, doesn't make her correct, quite the opposite actually.

  24. I see this anti-billionaire campaign not so good. Wouldn't it be better to try to establish ways to make billionaires to adopt more people in need of developing. In other words, make friendlier relationships between poor and very rich.

    It's good for the young people to think that there's no limits to their dreams.

  25. This is awesome!! I found someone stupider than Hassan Piker. AND as a bonus, someone who's actually worse at editing videos.

  26. It does suck that some people have more money than most good sized towns, but that's what happens when you cash in on the right new deal. If you hit the lottery, you'd cash it in am I right ? Everybody looks for investments and tax breaks. I never heard anyone act like getting rich is a bad thing. make a billion and give it to whoever you want. It ain't a crime.

  27. This video is just dumb I mean saying that billionaires are bad is so dumb since they are the ones that worked hard to get where they are now they pay for a lot of jobs and pay a lot in taxes but you still want them to pay more which is ridiculous and for what to pay for college for all or to pay pay off a gender studies degree I would rather have money be with people that actually give innovative products and service than the government which will just put more regulation and more garbage people dont want and its truly sad people buy into this propaganda

  28. We are getting all foreign owned media company's out of following country's. Billionaires pay this lady to blurt out crap we want foreign media company's out

  29. Wow the economic retardation of this video is hilarious. But that's what you get when a billionaire funded channel makes the case to tax the lower classes more while the billionaire behind it runs off with the money.

  30. I have this to say to the billionaire owners of AJ+ that live in qutar and supress women and homosexuals. This spreading of communist values is gonna come back to bite you in the end. I know you do it to spread discord in America but that discord will one day find its way to you.

  31. So basically, according to AJ+, people who are successful, and who make alot of money from that success, which also indirectly benefit alot of people are the bad guys? How does that make any sense? Money does not determine morality, you can be a bad or good poor or rich guy, and anywhere in between. You can't punish people based on their wealth. There are good billionaires out there. You don't have to be poor to be moral.

  32. Define good….
    Billionaires are just like millionaires, and just like thousandaires, what a stupid question to ask, why do you think billionaires are different than you, most people are trying to make a good living and I climb to their highest potential, and those who do not, are either not ready to fight for it, or don't feel it's important enough, or just lazy, what makes you think that people that are successful are less good than you are, you really think those poor people are better? Good and evil, is dependent on a character not on income.

  33. There is no such thing as climate change…geoengineering haarp is more pertinent and speaking normally we have barium aluminum oxide strontium car waste gasoline oil fluoride in tooth paste, oh u sound like major media

  34. Definition of a “good” billionaire for this “woke” ho
    Is any billionaire who she relieves under the table. A la Monica Lewinsky.

  35. I will never get why people are bad for working for there money, okey so its bad that 1% of the world has 99% of the money but they arent bad people they worked for it.

  36. It's funny how this channel has high production value but the content is garbage. Your view count can't compete with guys producing out of their kitchen. LOL

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